Cowboys get back to business following big win

By By Aex Hickey / American Press

We are in the full throes of McMania.

Unable to contain his excitement, McNeese radio color commentator Johnny Suydam opened Monday’s press conference by telling

everyone the local Sam’s Club ran out of McNeese shirts within 90 minutes of opening on Monday morning.

Then there’s the media attention heaped on the Cowboys from their 53-21 season-opening stomp of Bowl Subdivision foe South


ESPN played McNeese football highlights on SportsCenter. Dick Vitale expressed his astonishment on Twitter. —

the same folks who broke the Manti T’eo girlfriend hoax — featured a picture of Dylan Long celebrating a touchdown on its

front page for a story about the banner weekend for FCS teams against their bigger brothers.

Meanwhile, in Tampa they speculated that this was the lowest point in USF history.

Pretty heady stuff.

“It’s a big win for us on a lot of

fronts,” said Cowboys coach Matt Viator. “Any time you have an

opportunity to beat an FBS

team, to beat a BCS-caliber conference football team, and in the

process get some national recognition, those things are all


But Viator isn’t getting too caught up in such hoopla, and his message Monday was that there are still 11 games to be played

this season.

“Everything I just mentioned is in the

short-term,” Viator said. “It’s the here and now (that matter). We have

to move forward.

I explained that to the players (Sunday) and I think they

recognize it. It’s great to get recognition in the first game. But

we have 11 more games, starting this week.”

It starts with this weekend’s home opener against defending Southwest Athletic Conference champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which

kicks off at 7:30 p.m. to accomodate a Comcast Sports Net Houston telecast.

The Lions did not show much in a 62-11 loss to FBS Arkansas State as 12 players were ruled ineligible before the game. The

status of those players for this week is not yet clear, but Viator deeply respects the program coming off a 10-2 season.

“Any opponent gets your attention. Any

good opponent gets your respect,” Viator said. “But any opponent that

has championship

pedigree really gets my respect and really gets my attention.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is the defending champion of a very proud

conference, and had to earn it on the field in a championship

game. They come back this year as the favorite to win it again.”

Just as last year’s upset win over Middle Tennessee State gave McNeese confidence in this year’s season opener, the aftermath

will serve as a template for not overlooking the next opponent.

“The only way I know how is to stay on

routine,” Viator said. “Regardless of whether we won or lost, we did the

same thing

yesterday we would have done. We’ll come out (Tuesday) in practice

the same way regardless of opponent. Those actions speak

louder than words. You can talk about it all you want, but it’s

how you prepare that the players can relate to.

“Trust me, when they come out here for practice, it’ll be business as usual.”